Priest built LEGO model of Vatican

Father Bob Simon spent nearly a year of his free time building this intricate LEGO model of the Vatican, now on display at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute adjacent to the "Vatican Splendors" exhibit and "The Art of the Brick" LEGO sculpture exhibit currently on view at the museum. Apparently, Simon built a smaller version of the LEGO Vatican while in junior high school. The current model consists of approximately half a million parts and includes a LEGO pope on the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square. (Associated Press)

Read the rest

Native American Church members fight harassment by authorities


“Peyote Drummer,” photogravure, Edward Sheriff Curtis, 1927.

Editor's note: The Oklevueha Native American Church, or ONAC, is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legal freedom to observe Native American spiritual traditions. Some of these involve sacramental or medicinal use of various plants: Peyote, Ayahuasca, San Pedro, Cannabis, Mushrooms and others. I am an ONAC member. While law varies state by state, those who grow or use these plants--Native Americans, or otherwise--risk arrest, property confiscation, legal harassment, and police abuse. One of ONAC's members in California was recently arrested, and his property confiscated, shortly after local law enforcement were notified they have no right to do these things. ONAC is holding a press conference today to announce their response. —Xeni Jardin

There will be a press conference today, 2 PM at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa California, at 170 Railroad Street.

Noted Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer Matt Pappas will be announcing lawsuits and other legal actions against a number of Law Enforcement and County officials and entities.

These legal actions have become necessary because of repeated abuses of power and evidence of collusion by these groups to deprive members of the Native American Church of their Native Ceremonies and Sacraments by raiding their sacred grounds, confiscating their objects of worship and destroying the sacraments and medicines.

All of these items are protected under the 1st, 4th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. These protections have repeatedly been upheld by numerous court cases around the country including the US Supreme Court, US District Courts and State Supreme Courts. Read the rest

Sagan, Hawking, and Clarke have a gabfest (1988)


Watch these three guys discuss "God, The Universe and Everything Else," which includes extraterrestrials, creativity, science fiction, education, the Cold War, fractals, and so much more.

Read the rest

Over 60 dead after crane collapse in Mecca's Grand Mosque

Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque
Images and video in this post contain graphic images of death, and may be disturbing.

NZ bans award-winning YA novel after complaints from conservative Christian group

Ted Dawe's Into the River won the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book prize; businesses that sell, lend or gift it face fines of up to NZD10,000. Read the rest

Christian assault rifles now available


Spike's Tactical in Florida is selling a $1,400 assault rifle called the Crusader. It's inscribed with Psalm 144:1, which says, “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Read the rest

Rules for Bible class

Nothing will be on fleek. (via Seanan) Read the rest

Revealed for the first time: the seer stone that translated the Book of Mormon

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published photos of what they claim is their prophet's talking magical rock.

Some of our favorite monsters from “Compendium Of Demonology and Magic” (ca. 1775)

The Prince of Darkness, Dagol devouring human limbs
Credit: Wellcome Library, London.
A most bizarre book from the late 18th century.

Satanic Temple required protesters to pledge their souls to Satan as condition of entry

The Satanic Temple -- a pair of fun-loving, non-Satan-believing religious freedom activists -- unveiled the statue of Baphomet they plan to put on the Arkansas State Capitol's lawn to complement its existing Christian iconography. Read the rest

The “Amen!” Game: 1970s Christian board game, scanned online for you to play

Bible trivia version of Bingo from 1973.

Church of Cannabis sues Indiana for restricting its religious liberty


Citing Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Church of Cannabis is suing the state for preventing it from using its religious sacrament of choice. Church of Cannabis founder Bill Levin claims that its members (Cannaterians) have sincere, deep religious belief about the spiritual power of cannabis.

The lawsuit states that cannabis brings its members "closer to ourselves and others. It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression."

RFRA has created religious exemptions for drug use before: The federal RFRA originated from a case of Native Americans wanting to use peyote for religious ceremonies. Another federal RFRA case allowed a small religious group from Brazil to use a sacramental tea that contained an illegal hallucinogenic substance.

But marijuana, Conkle said, is a different situation because of the potential for recreational users to try to exploit the religious angle.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Nano Bible no bigger than the tip of a pen


Israeli researchers created a "Nano Bible," all 1.2 million letters of the Old Testament engraved on a gold-plated silicon disk the size of a sugar grain. Read the rest

Satan's merry pranksters

Remember the fun Satanic Temple that fought to put a statue of Baphomet on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol and held a "pink mass" at the grave of the mother of Wesboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps to turn her "gay in the afterlife?" The New York Times talked to the Satanic Temple's two chief instigators, "Malcolm Jarry" and "Lucien Greaves" (aka Douglas Mesner), about their approach to poignant political pranksterism in the face of conservative Christianity. Read the rest

Colorado achieved incredible reductions in teen pregnancy through free birth control

The six-year program has run out of foundation money and the state is unlikely to pick up the tab, despite the 40% drop in teen births and 42% drop in abortions achieved through the simple expedient of giving free IUDs and implants to teens who asked for them. Read the rest

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is annoyed that this Satanist is intelligent


Megyn Kelly was prepared to argue with a moron when she invited the Satanic Temple’s Lucien Greaves on her Fox News program, The Kelly File. It soon dawned on her that Greaves was articulate and intelligent, yet she was unable to deviate from her script and as a result, she ended up looking foolish and had to resort to scolding him that she was lawyer, so her opinion had to be correct.

Greaves was the guy who proposed to erect a statue of Baphomet on the Oklahoma state capitol to “complement and contrast the 10 Commandments [monument on the capitol], reaffirming that we live in a nation that respects plurality, a nation that refuses to allow a single viewpoint to co-opt the power and authority of government institutions.” On Tuesday the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments monument, and as a result Greaves decided not to erect the Baphomet statue.

Kelly attempted to get Greaves to acknowledge the validity of Attorney General Pruitt’s argument that the Ten Commandments have “historical meaning,” but he parried, saying that he would do so only if she acknowledged that Baphomet had a similar significance. “The image [of Baphomet] goes back to the 19th Century,” he said, “so it’s at least as old as Mormonism.”

Read the rest

We've evolved to disbelieve evolution

Experimental psychologists find that humans prefer explanations for events that have certainty and a sense of purpose over undirected randomness. Read the rest

More posts